Respiratory Failure: Acute, Chronic or Both?

  • December 6, 2018

    Many patients manage chronic respiratory failure daily, but acute respiratory failure can be a life-threatening condition. To complicate things, a patient with chronic respiratory failure can suffer from a sudden worsening of their condition, leading to an episode of acute respiratory failure.

    One common error with documentation of respiratory failure is neglecting to document the condition as chronic in addition to acute, so the combo code for acute and chronic respiratory failure may be selected on the claim. Accurate and complete documentation of the following elements of respiratory failure is crucial to the selection of the most specific ICD-10 code:

    • Status: acute, chronic, acute and chronic, or postprocedural
    • Type: with hypoxemia or with hypercapnia

    Learn how to document and code respiratory failure to the highest level of specificity.

    For more information about documentation and coding chronic or complex conditions, email your Provider Clinical Consultant at

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